Something to crow about!

Britain First never seems to lack something to crow about. If they’re not complaining about how badly they’re treated (and begging for money to support their persecuted martyrdom) they’re shouting about how great they are (and begging for money to support their greatness). Sometimes they combine the two and complain about how persecuted they are in spite of their greatness (and beg for money to support their persecuted greatness). Biffer Fuhrer, Folding Golding’s New Year message to his imaginary British Reich combined all of the above and more. You can watch his hilarious attempt to be taken seriously (along with the EBF commentary) here.

For me though, the most hilarious of all the festive season’s offerings was this little gem which appeared on the Biffer website a little while ago. This collection of craziness, this wonderful, web-based wittering of weasel words falls into the ‘see how great we are’ camp – except they’re not great at all. In attempting to prove how ever-so-influential they are Britain First has proven beyond all reasonable doubt their own political insignificance. In short this is what they said…

We’re great because..

We have lots of overseas likes, click bait likes, sock-puppets and paid for popularity.

We don’t get a look in when it comes to the real world but…

Online we only really make an impact on Facebook because that’s the only social media platform that lets us silence dissenters and fake our popularity by paying Asian click-farms.But if we don’t count platforms where people aren’t easy to silence we look like we’re doing well.

So we won’t count any platform except Facebook.

We especially won’t count Twitter where we always get trounced by people we can’t silence. Anyway Paulie got banned off Twitter for being a racist bully so we definitely don’t want anything to do with them. They’re too hard to control.

Look how popular we seem now.

Impressive isn’t it?

BF stats EBF commentary new year 2016

Britain First: Leadership and the numbers game

EBF BF FB feeder pages memeBritain First lost lots of followers after their awful performance in the BBC3 documentary ‘We Want Our Country Back’. That’s not exactly surprising. Unlike the Biffers’ own video editor from ‘One Narrow Door’, the Beeb had no interest in trying to make these tin-pot Nazis look like anything other than what they really are. The documentary exposed this organisation and its members as violent, far right thugs whose only defining characteristics are hatred, stupidity and a cynical obsession with their own aggrandisement.

Predictably enough then the Biffers set out on another big fundraising push just as the Beeb’s hour long programme hit the nation’s TV screens. That’s no surprise – the Biffers wanted to replace their lost Facebook likes so it didn’t look too obvious that they were falling (and failing) fast.

We often see surges in Britain First’s online numbers immediately after fundraising drives. If you watch (especially at night) you can see their figures rise by thousands in the space of a few minutes. Interestingly – these increases often come in ‘round’ numbers. 1,000 here and then an hour or two later 1,000 there. It’s almost as though they buy their likes from Clickfarms. How could anyone ever suspect such a thing?

It’s difficult to know how many of Britain First’s likes are genuine but we did a little accounting exercise based upon our own Facebook statistics. It’s a simple enough formula.

We looked at the number of likes we have and then at the number of people actually engaged in discussions on our page. That was a bit time consuming but it was worth it. Then we took the second figure and converted it into a percentage of the first to give us our formula. Assuming that the two sets of Facebook ‘followers’ are comparable we now know how to deduce actual likes by counting engagements ‘heads’ in discussion.

In the case of our own page, that’s simple to establish. EBF don’t use clickfarms. Nor do we use clickbait so everyone who likes our Facebook page will have a genuine interest in what we do. In Britain First’s case, a large proportion of even the real people who’ve liked their page presumably have no idea who they are and will never visit their page. They’re just clicked and shared a picture of a cute puppy or a nostalgic image from their childhood with no idea about the sinister far-right group whose name they were helping to spread.

In our estimate then the top figure is the ‘clean’ figure which we arrived at by assuming that the Biffers percentage ratios are just like our own. The lower figure is our best guess (admittedly based upon very little raw data) at an adjustment for clickbait likes. This gives us an estimated total of 155,000 to 185,000 actual Facebook likes. That’s a far cry from the million likes that Britain First would have us believe.

Given the Biffers’ extensive use of clickbait (and the fact that almost every meme they put out comes with instructions to ‘like and share’) even these numbers are probably a gross over-estimation of their actual popularity.

We need to go even further, delving deeper into the deceptive world of Britain First. Once we realise that the Biffers are just as keen to create support in Australia, Russia, Canada and the United States the numbers become even less significant. Uncle Jim Dowson clearly understands the financial value of these overseas markers and many of their likes come from the American right. These are the paranoid, gun-toting, Muslim-hating ‘Christians’ who are always eager to put their money where their gunbelt is – for the ‘right’ cause, of course. A quick scan of the comments on Britain First’s page demonstrates just how many of their supporters live overseas and contribute nothing at all to their meagre UK popularity.

Then there are the ‘alts’ – the online Alter-egos that the Biffers have long been encouraging their membership to create. These ‘alts’ are there to harass BF’s political opponents but they also help boost the Biffers’ numbers by clicking ‘like’ whenever they can.

Finally we should include the many feeder pages and mirror sites of Britain First. Most people are unaware that these sites are also run by Britain First. Nor do they realise that it’s possible to ‘merge’ likes between their pages. This means that Britain First gets to count likes that actually were meant for mirror sites like one of their many Remembrance Day scam pages.

On the street Britain First is nothing much to speak of. They’ve never achieved anything like the numbers of the EDL who really did used to get thousands of Nazis at their zenith. The EDL enjoyed the sorts of numbers that Golding and Fransen can only dream of.

EDL Grimace demo

The two organisations are comparable as far as Facebook goes though. Britain First has 150,000 – 185,000 likes. The English Defence League had around 165,000 likes at their peak, just before they lost their Facebook page. So what went wrong for Britain First? Well – we think it’s pretty clear.

The EDL used to draw its numbers from the UK. Its followers were able to get involved because they live here.

EDL Tommy Robinson AKA Stephen Yaxley Lennon

The charisma of Tommy Robinson (real name – Stephen Yaxley Lennon), odious though he was and presumably still is, was a major draw for his organisation. Tommy himself was responsible for much of the group’s appeal. That’s why, following Robinson’s departure the English Defence League fell quickly into obscurity. The EDL still exists but the loss of its only effective leader dealt it a blow from which it will probably never recover.

Britain First never had any such leader. Paul Golding is a buffoon. Even his own ‘flock’ are becoming increasingly comfortable saying so.

Whereas Tommy was relatively articulate, Golding is often almost incoherent. His prose is never particularly clever, insightful or uplifting.

Whereas Robinson used to give a plausible impression of actual courage, Golding’s constant need for black-clad security and his habit of bullying lone, vulnerable people whilst surrounded by his own ‘Mafia’ is clear evidence of his own cowardice.

BF EBF Kit injustice mosque invasion

Whereas Robinson commanded the respect of those around him, Golding’s inner circle is already plotting his downfall.

In short, Britain First has no leader to speak of and therefore no real support. Biffers are like sheep – they need to be led and they need their leader to be charismatic and courageous. Folding Golding will never be able to live up to Tommy Robinson’s legacy and that’s Britain First’s biggest problem. They should have been able to capitalise upon the EDL’s demise but for that they’d need a leader with a bit of ability…

and the Biffers just haven’t got one!

Paulie BF EBF crying

View from a barstool #4

Beer 2So another week’s over and another week of seeing my takings suffer as the rest of the home nations nosedive out of the Rugby world cup. BT sports taking over of the Champions league is driving the punters away. The mixed pool team has won another game, much to the chagrin of Beryl who continues to put holes in everything other than the dartboard. I do hear the ladies tiddlywinks team may be short next week.

So what have we learnt from Biffer towers this week? Well they were triumphant in Burton, they still hate the thought of countries taking in immigrants, they love Putin, they adore the Knights Templar International (other real groups are out there) they’ve stayed strangely quiet over a massacre in Sweden and finally as remembrance day comes close they wheel out the old clickbait memes to con (sorry make) money out of their supporters.

Apparently Britain First’s brave 139 protesters were confronted by a few anti’s and bravely stood their ground. This however once again turned out to be a load of rubbish as Antifa, locals and Anti Biffers including most of the EBF office turned out to harass, heckle and generally have a good day out (see EBFBlogger here and here). Once again a huge police presence and shut shops proved what a waste of tax payers’ money and the costs of closing local businesses ensues when Folding and Dutchy come to town.

far right sweden school sword killer Anton Lundin PetterssonThe massacre in Sweden by a white, right wing terrorist and I mean terrorist not a misunderstood kid, not a loner, but a terrorist has led to near silence by the media, right wingers and politicians in this country. It appears to me that a nutter is a nutter whatever race or religion he or she may be. But while every Muslim man or woman is labelled a terrorist by the press or Biffer towers I have to counter that when this happens. I wasn’t the only one whose first thought when I heard the colour and politics of this boy was not Muslim was one of relief, when I should have been showing respect to those that had lost their lives. It must be working in the murky world of Anti Britain First that has made me do this.

But now on to the most important issue of the week (to me) and the outpouring of clickbait from Britain First and it’s offshoots including ones we are still checking on claiming to respect our troops, respect remembrance day, respect the poppy. So here we go, they are begging to get Folding elected, they are begging to stop their computers from being hacked, they are begging for court case costs and once again they are stealing money for their tatty products representing the poppy. And yes I did say stealing, because every penny they take goes into their bank account and is sent not to the armed forces but kept for whatever purpose Folding and Dutchy want to use it for (trip to Hungary, new tyres for their van or to hire a snooker hall for an hour). The unfortunate truth is any money raised does not go to respect our troops or to buy housing (something their memes tell us the refugees are getting) and Folding is still disrespecting our troops nearly 10 years since he wore pants on his head at the Cenotaph.

BF EBF Poppy shop charity con veteran RBL british legion scam

One of our page readers has challenged Golding to prove where the money has gone. To date nothing has been heard. Many of the good people of the page have been asking us if this page is real, is that page real and it’s got to the point where even we can’t be sure. I have recently had three people in my pub asking me to collect for remembrance day and each time I have said no, not because I don’t want to but since seeing the murky world of Britain First I will only have the Royal British Legion in and then for the rest of the year the Royal Air Force. Two of the three understood why I’m taking this stand, sighed and admitted that most of the pubs were taking this line too. The other got quite angry and insisted that I should allow his box on my bar. He left when I asked for his registered Charity number.

So to all you good souls who give money to respect and honour our troops please be careful where your pennies are going. I would advise sadly that you should only give money to the Royal British Legion this year and politely decline others. Give your reasons, the true ones will sigh and understand – only the shysters won’t.

This is a busy time for me at the moment. In a weeks time I will have completed my move to the South Coast, and my new pub will be halfway through the renovation. At least Beryl won’t be putting holes in the wall, Bazzer complaining about 3-5-2 or 4-2-3-1 and Gaz telling me every two minutes that the world is better under the conservatives will be a distant memory

Cheers

Why is Britain First so popular on Facebook?

We’ve had a few people in the EBF inbox asking this lately. And it’s a fair question. How have this bunch of inadequate cockwombles managed to get such a presence on Facebook?

EBF Mug banner badged

Well, it’s complicated so bear with us. You might want to put the kettle on, make yourself a nice cuppa in your EBF mug, grab a few Hobnobs to sustain you and get comfy. This will take a while.

Biffers post to Facebook around 250 times a week. That’s a huge amount to flood the net with. It’s something of a ‘numbers game’. The more you speculate the more you accumulate. The more posts they put out there the more likes they attract.The Biffers post a lot of emotive and fairly superficial stuff. They target visceral emotional responses rather than encourage actual, considered opinion. Posts demanding that we ‘hang paedophiles’ or ‘save Puppies’ create emotional responses and that’s what they’re relying upon.

EBF BF Clickbait campaign meme

The instruction to ‘share if you agree’ just increases their reach and enhances the numbers game they play so well. Add to this an appeal to tradition, to the things that many Brits see as quintessentially ‘us’ like respect for war heroes or Facebook likes for Prince William and you have a powerful formula. That’s what we mean by ‘click bait’.

Every like, share or comment is shown on the news feed of every person on that persons friend list. ‘So and so liked this’, ‘so and so shared this’ and so on. That’s a powerful psychological driver – it promotes the idea that Britain First is accepted by our friends and that makes us more likely to see them in a positive light too.

They publish a lot of ‘survey’ posts such as ‘should we leave the EU?’ These fake surveys invite Facebook users to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Actually Britain First couldn’t care less what the results of the survey might be – it’s the social media ‘reach’ they’re after. Every comment goes on friends’ news feeds and encourages further discussion and acceptance of Britain First as an organisation.

BF FB Clickbait reach meme

Britain First sponsors posts. This means they pay Facebook to promote their posts under suggested likes or interests. It means they get to news feeds potentially untapped. That’s why Britain First posts, surveys and memes appear on the Facebook feeds of people who’ve never heard of them before.

EBF BF KTI share

The Biffers have many feeder pages that they share all of their material with and vice versa. If you look overnight you will see BF share a lot of Knights Templar International or English and Proud posts. These posts tend to be hidden during the daytime. This taps into the USA, Australian and Canadian feeds. The more likes, shares, comments and reach, the more Facebook takes an interest and helps to keep Britain First in people’s feeds.

EBF BF KTI USA cashcow Golding Dowson Fransen

If you visit their website you will be greeted first with a pop up ‘survey’ question linked to the Biffers’ Facebook account.. You may be asked  “Should Britain deport terrorists and hate preachers?” with the option to press either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Remember that Britain First doesn’t care how you answer – it’s the reach they’re after.

BF pop up screenshot

If you respond you improve their standing with Facebook. That’s important because Facebook’s promotion algorithm is based upon existing hits and interactions. The more you have, the more exposure you get. These pop ups continue for as long as you’re on the BF site. It’s intrusive but effective. Presumably people click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ just to close the pop up but that still registers with Facebook, increases reach and enhances future exposure for Britain First.

Biffers use many ‘sock puppet’ accounts on sites across social media. We know this because sometimes the Biffer admins forget to sign in and out and end up having obvious (and ridiculous) arguments with themselves. Often when one person says something controversial, others will follow. Suddenly it becomes a place for people to ‘say what they think with agreement’. Those who disagree with the Britain First point of view are blocked from commenting so the overall impression is of a popular movement that everyone agrees with. People who can’t get anyone to agree with their neo’nazi racism (they’re in such a minority in the real world) suddenly begin to feel validated. And all without leaving the comfort of their computer chair!

Britain first pays Facebook and Facebook associated companies to boost posts, enhance reach and even buy likes. They also share likes between their many ‘feeder pages’, all of which eventually end up counting toward the main Biffer page.

EBF BF FB feeder pages meme

That’s why they have around a million Facebook likes and counting. It’s creative accounting, cynical marketing, paid-for likes and persistently flooding the internet with click bait, sock puppet debate and overnight posts intended for our American and Australian counterparts.

But for all their apparent Facebook popularity they don’t do nearly so well when it comes to getting real boots on real ground. Most Biffer rallies struggle to muster 100 people. Actual, real world support is very limited but the combination of bought likes, clickbait shares and the rest creates a very convincing impression of popularity. No matter how big and strong they appear online though, those misleading, over-inflated stats mean nothing in the real world, except…

…If they appear bigger, stronger and more popular than they are then they will eventually gain some real world support too. Their Facebook page is essentially an echo chamber. Dissent is deleted to the extent that only one (Nazi) view remains. This misrepresents the neo-nazism of Britain First as the only ‘right point of view’.

We know that Britain First’s co-founder, Jim Dowson has a wealth of experience as a marketer, publicist and political fundraiser. Fuhrer Biffer, Paul Golding was BNP press officer until he and Dowson left the party in 2011 to found Britain First. These people have skills and, laughing stock though they are, we’d be wrong to underestimate their influence.